PORTFOLIO

Learn about some of the neat databases, mobile apps, and websites that the talented folks at 5marbles have built.

DATABASES

Fortis Securities

The Problem

As a large multinational corporation, Fortis Securities (now part of China’s ICBC) used quite a few different financial and back-office enterprise applications. Unfortunately for key employees in its corporate headquarters, those systems often differed by significant amounts. This complicated balancing and reporting.

The Solution

In a matter of a few months, members of 5marbles created a simple, user-friendly Microsoft Access application that would quickly identify discrepancies among BNP Paribas’ different systems. What’s more, the application created journal entries that BNP Paribas’ employees could then upload into their source systems.

The Results

As a result, employees could now sync BNP Paribas’ financial systems and identify issues far faster than before.

Chemonics

The Problem

A private international development company needed a simple way to to track logistics and delivery information across a number of different countries. Ideally, this solution would support not only structured data (re: delivery times, routes, etc.) but unstructured data as well (pictures of delivered packages, signatures, etc.)

The Solution

Members of 5marbles deployed an instance of Microsoft SQL Server in Azure. Because Chemonics’ users were already familiar with Microsoft Access, the team created simple forms and linked their data via Open Database Connectivity (ODBC) to its new powerful, cloud-based back-end.

The Results

Under an accelerated timeline, the 5marbles team used Scrum to develop a secure and customized relational database with more than 30 tables. It created key forms that would allow Chemonics users to enter and retrieve key organizational data. What’s more, the team set the stage for future features and user stories.

PowerPaws

The Problem

A non-profit dog-assistance organization needed a better, more scalable way to track data related to pets, adopters, and donors. Its Microsoft Access database once met its business needs. Years later, though, that had changed.

The Solution

Members of 5marbles transformed PowerPaws’ Access database into something much more powerful. The team used the open-source MySQL database to create a solution that met PowerPaws’ needs. What’s more, the team deployed it using Amazon Web Services (AWS). This allowed PowerPaws to keep its costs as low as possible. Finally, to ensure maximum security, the team wrapped the database and website forms in Pretty Good Privacy, the same tool that Edward Snowden used.

The Results

PowerPaws’ management evaluated the AWS database. Ultimately, Microsoft awarded the organization a grant to use Azure. Still, the PowerPaws’ folks learned a great deal about databases, data schema, and cloud computing.

MOBILE APPS

Large Financial-Services Institution

The Problem

A large financial-services company wanted a way to easily engage its employees and customers in charitable and social events.

The Solution

Members of 5marbles built an iOS app as a proof of concept. The app allowed the company’s employees to easily view existing pledging drives and events. What’s more, the app supported gamification. This would allow the app to become stickier.

The Results

The team turned the app over to the organization. After further testing, its management plans to make the app available to its employees in the near future.

Large American Public University

The Problem

A large public university wanted a way to easily track student attendance, particularly for freshman and sophomore classes with hundreds of students.

The Solution

A member of 5marbles built a mobile app using Ruby on Rails. Students would only need to swipe their phones near a radio-frequency identification (RFID) reader. That action would create a record in a MySQL database. In turn, this data could provide a bevy of analytics. For instance, this data could help the university identify and address potential student dropout issues.

The Results

The university is currently evaluating whether to roll out the mobile app and RFID reader.

WEBSITES

Flowers by Renee

The Problem

Flowers by Renee is a family-owned flower shop in Chandler, Arizona. The company delivers fresh flowers daily to its clients. Unfortunately for owners Tom and Lori Williams, a significant number of customers forgot important events including birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. These customers would come in at the last minute desperately trying to avoid embarrassment. Tom and Lori wanted to redo the FBR website and, in the process, automatically remind clients of important dates for them.

The Solution

Members of the 5marbles team built a site called Forgetyouknot. The PHP-based site supports e-commerce and access the Stripe API.

The Results

Jeff Lee Landscaping

The Problem

Jeff Lee had built his website at some point in the late 1990s and, put kindly, it was a little long in the tooth. To see for yourself, click here. (Warning: Site from archive.org takes a while to load.)

The Solution

Because the full-time landscaper didn’t have the time or desire to learn how to code, a user-friendly solution was paramount. Members of the 5marbles team built Jeff’s new site with WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system (CMS).

The Results

No, Jeff’s new site isn’t the world’s most sophisticated. Still, it’s a marked improvement over his previous one. Jeff now maintains the site himself and has seen his website leads substantially increase.

OTHER

Motion Publishing

The Problem

Motion Publishing needed real-time notifications when people reviewed its books on Amazon. A negative review often warrants a response from an author. What’s more, it can deter others from making a purchase.

The Solution

A member of 5marbles built a simple Python-based e-mail notification tool. Now, every time that someone reviews a Motion book on Amazon, the publisher knows within minutes.

The Results

The alert system works perfectly; Motion’s management and individual authors know within minutes when a legitimate reader or troll reviews Motion’s books.